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The Colour of Heaven

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | The Colour of Heaven.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    James Runcie(Author)

    Book details


From the author of THE DISCOVERY OF CHOCOLATE -- a romantic historical quest set in Renaissance Venice and China surrounding the search for ultramarine. THE COLOUR OF HEAVEN is a fictional account of a young man who travelled to what are now Afghanistan and China to discover lapis lazuli, the precious stone that when turned into ultramarine changed the history of painting -- allowing artists to abandon gold as a background and open up depth, landscape and perspective with the most beautiful shade of blue. Along the way, Paolo suffers the torments of unfulfilled love before he returns to his anxious family in Venice, where he also plays a part in the early development of lenses and spectacles!

'The book has a winning charm -- an atmosphere of the Arabian Nights or a benevolent fairy tale. ! Runcie's real gift -- like that of his appealing young hero -- is a wonderful feel for colour.' Salley Vickers, The Times 'An exotic, action-packed tour of the 14th-century world. Runcie has taken a small nugget of history and polished it to delicious effect, capturing the flavour of everyday life in long-vanished societies! Both charming and touching.' Max Davidson, Sunday Telegraph 'Tender and gently comic, the novel shares much of the serenity and luminosity of the painting at its heart.' Michael Arditti, Independent 'What a wonderful book it is. A lush, gorgeous novel, rich in hue and flowing with historical atmosphere and a sense of exploration; it is pure delight to read. A vivid story, brilliantly told.' Oxford Times 'An enjoyable tale. Runcie gives us just the right amount of local colour without ever trying to impress us with his cleverness. This is a simple, charming tale and in that is its strength.' Church Times Praise for THE DISCOVERY OF CHOCOLATE: 'As intoxicating and addictive as the substance it describes. The novel is a triumph of inspired imagination' Financial Times 'A work of engaging simplicity which reads well, has plenty of light and shade and never patronises the reader. The potent appeal of chocolate!is vividly captured. Mouth-watering descriptions of food litter the text' Sunday Telegraph 'A sensual delight!elegantly written and unashamed fun' Joanne Harris, The Times 'His treasure of a book, fantastic and delicious and dreamily erotic by turns, will transmute your yearning for the bitter water into a craving from which you will, quite happily, never recover' Simon Winchester James Runcie is an award-winning film-maker. He has worked for BBC Arts and Classical Music for the last ten years but will soon be joining Oxford Television on a three film deal for Channel 4. He was part of the original team that created The Late Show and he has also worked in theatre. He has scripted three films for the BBC and reviewed books for Daily Telegraph and written articles for various magazines including She, Country Living, Evening Standard, Observer.

4.3 (7760)
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Book details

  • PDF | 304 pages
  • James Runcie(Author)
  • HarperCollins Publishers Ltd (February 2, 2004)
  • English
  • 7
  • Literature & Fiction

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Review Text

  • By tahoelyn on July 9, 2016

    After reading the Grantchester series, I was so disappointed in this book. It was slow and tedious, spending page after page while the main character contemplated the world through near- sightedness. Too much time spent reflecting and not enough time relating his travels in distant lands. It was as if Runcie wanted to write a spiritual book rather than a historical novel.

  • By Kindle Customer. crumpy on December 17, 2017

    This is a pleasant, and sometimes ethereal story, which I enjoyed.

  • By HMW on May 9, 2015

    This was such a beautiful story and such pleasures unfolded with each chapter -I relished every step of the journey as I was lead thoughtfully to explore each experience of the young man supported by his teachers.To be recommended to all who enjoy the mystery and magic of life.

  • By happyheathen on January 2, 2006

    Let's start on a high note: the cover is beautiful, the title is intriguing, the concept fascinating. The bones of a great tale are here but it is woefully lacking in meat. I persevered to the end, slogging through pages that were boring; full of disjointed and trite narration and dialoge, hoping to find a reason to like Runcie's offering. Disappointed, I closed the cover and put it in the 'donate to the library book sale' box. Someone should take Runcie's idea and run with it. The potential for a great book lies within.

  • By J. Nickel on June 7, 2004

    because it is set in an era that I find endlessly facsinating, and besides, it has a lovely cover. Unfortunately, I just can't recommend it. If the author's aim was to wind a story around the introduction of lapis lazuli to Western art and eyeglasses to Western society, I expect him to have done his research. Though I don't know much about either of these topics, I can't trust the author because he gets other details that I do know about so very wrong. For example, at least twice he mentions characters eating tomatoes, though they didn't exist in the old world until the 16th Century.As is the problem with much historical fiction, most of the major characters are unrealistic -- their values and actions belong in the 21st century western world. In particular, the Afgan woman Aisha was very modern. This made the love story between her and Paolo both laughable and even worse, boring. Furthermore, the author attempts to give a lesson in major world religions (Christianity, Islam, Judaism and Buddism) that seems both forced and out of character.The writing is fine and the story generally clips along nicely (except when it gets bogged down in the middle with the love story) but credibility is lost through details and characterization.Still searching for credible historical fiction . . .

  • By Kat on July 7, 2005

    Great cover. Great title. Great description: "a dazzling novel of travel, romance and the perfect blue." However, a boring book. It had everything going for it but it just fell flat. The beginning, with Paolo discovered abandoned in the canals of Venice, was good. But, this is all that's good. The romance between Paolo and Aisha is long, drawn out and ho-hum. Just like another reviewer I wanted to like this book. I just didn't.

  • By Rosamund on January 10, 2007

    This was an extremely poorly written, badly researched book. The writing style was insultingly simplistic, the descriptions mundane and at one point I began to wonder whether in fact I had picked up a book aimed at children. The most unanswerable question was not 'what is the meaning of life?' but how a 13th century 16 year old boy who had never left Venice managed to talk fluently with a Northern Afghan woman living in a remote village. Perhaps he'd done an Open University course before leaving the city. Or the Afghan village had an extensive Linguaphone library. And at one point he was cutting willow for charcoal into matchstick sized pieces - he would never have seen a match because they weren't around then!


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